Tuesday, April 30, 2013

When I saw this picture, I just about died laughing.
This is my mother. Seriously. No wonder I'm always in trouble!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Randomizer

~ My sister Anna celebrated her 20th birthday today! I remember the day she was born. I feel old (lol). We had a nice morning at home watching her open gifts, and then I curled her hair using the new techniques I picked up from the stylist who did my hair for the wedding. It turned out great, and she got lots of compliments on it! Then after church we continued our celebration at a picnic lunch with our grandparents at Battle Creek Cypress Swamp. Despite the fact that I mushed my toe (and tore off the nail! Eek!), and I was preettttyy sure I was going to watch my grandmother go over the side of the boardwalk into the swamp a couple of times... oh, and that I dropped my camera in the swamp, where only Maggie's quick thinking saved it (thanks Sis!)... a good time was had by all. :) Pictures coming.

~ I got an appalling little bit done on my remodel this weekend. I reallyreallyreally want to get the kitchen painting finished because it's so. dreary. Lots of taping and nit-picky angles and whatnot. I'm really going to buckle down on it this week and try to get it done. My family has company coming next weekend, and I'm hoping to be able to offer my bedroom as a guest room, so that'll be my motivation.

~ Betty Crocker Macaroni and Cheese is nowhere near as good as good ole Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Just sayin'.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Crave List

- A wine-braised roast. With some potatoes, carrots, and sage. Can I get an "amen?"

- A picnic. With some yummy food, some artisan ginger ale, a big blanket to spread out on the grass, a good book to read, a laptop to play music, and a cozy sweatshirt for once the sun goes down (cuz it's still pretty chilly for this time of year!). Then, some stargazing. :)

- A date. Not even a romantic date, really - just a chance to get dressed up, get out of the house, have an interesting talk, and be able to stay out late without worrying about being mugged. Guys are good for this. :)

- A day poolside, soaking up the sun. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Of Small Spaces, And Books

Something I realized pretty early on in my search for a new place to live was that, regardless of whether I rented a room or bought a trailer, I was gonna have to do some serious decluttering/downsizing. In a way, although I didn't know it at the time, I got to "practice" this last year when my family was having our upstairs flooring installed and most of our belongings went into boxes while it was being done.

I learned a couple of important lessons through that experience. I learned, for instance, that while I can live with fewer clothes, fewer knicknacks, less "stuff", there are three material things I don't function well without:
  • My own bed.
  • Pictures of my loved ones.
  • My books.
The bed is easy - when I'm done painting and remodeling and unpacking, I'll merely lift my mattress off the cheap frame in the house, walk it across the porch, and slide it into my new bedroom.

Likewise, pictures are pretty easy to move - I'll have less "surface area," so more pictures will probably get hung on the wall, but one way or the other I'll still have my photos.

Books... now that presents more of a challenge.

Books are important to me.

When I finally unpacked my books after the flooring got installed, I had visions of downsizing my library, of sorting through all these unneeded books that surely I had - cuz, I mean, I have over 500 tomes, and I can't possibly love all of them, right?


I unpacked. I tried to be vicious about deciding whether or not I really wanted/needed each and every book.

At the end of this experiment, I rid myself of less than ten books and honestly couldn't figure out how to trim any more.

When I read about how to downsize your library, the first advice they give you is to eliminate all the books you know you'll never really read, or books you'll never reread.

I guess I'm odd, because I don't actually have any books that fall into those two categories. I'm generally picky about what comes to live on my bookshelves, and each book is there for a reason. I return to my favorite stories and novels as though they were the arms of old friends - Lewis for when my soul needs soothing, Bauer for when I need an infusion of joy, my poetry anthologies when I need to see the world another way. I'm guessing I've read about 75% of the books on my shelves, and I've reread probably 95% of them.

As for the ones I haven't read yet - I regularly mark books off my "to-read" list and most of the time the instincts which led me to put it on the list to begin with were good, meaning it stays.

A lot of people have told me to convert to a Kindle or similar eReader. While I know they mean well, there are two problems with this: first, converting my library of over 500 books (even though it's largely made up of classics) would be ridiculously, prohibitively expensive, even when I consider that most of the books I own I bought secondhand for cheap or was given. Also, I like to take my books with me on adventures (road trips, airplane rides, beach or pool sitting... long reads in a bubble bath... etc) and I would never, ever dream of taking an expensive eReader or tablet with me.

Second, I'm a staunch believer that books are more than the words on the page; books are experiences, and part of that experience is the feel of the paper, the smell of ink, glue, and binding (oh that heavenly smell! Made even better if it's a used book with the scent of history), the sound of the rustling pages... and, yes, even the slight weathering that occurs with time.

I have yet to confirm my worst fears - that I just don't have enough room for the library I have now - but I'm anticipating some tough choices in my future. :(

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Randomizer

- It's been consistently warm for a few weeks now. So I spent a little time this weekend pulling out all my summer clothes and packing away my winter clothes. Then I woke up this morning and it was cold again. Oh, well. I'm sure not undoing that task, so I guess I'll just grin and bear it (and wear the one sweatshirt I left out into the ground).

- Got so much done on my trailer this weekend! Allen wandered in while Lizzie and I were working and ended up helping (okay, okay, mostly doing himself while I sat next to him humming endless refrains of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and using the top of the bed platform as a drum).

Before - see how the bed platform takes up all the room?!?
After - see? Now I have a living room with actual ROOM!
 It was a double blessing to have Allen help me with this because it ended up being complicated - like, as he put it, it required tools to use tools to use tools. Luckily, I think the hard part is over, and now I just have to modify the top part and add cushions and voila! Build-in storage sofa. :)

- I had a great time in Sunday school this morning. I'm not sure what started it, but one of the guys started telling me about what a great deal he and his girlfriend got on their shoes at Payless, and then he and his girlfriend and I discussed shoes (turns out we'd both seen the same pair and loved them), and basically we just had a lot of fun. We're studying Job, which is a book that I lovelovelove, which makes it fun anyway. Unfortunately, our group leader just took a job that's going to take him away, so our future as a group is uncertain. Boo. :*(

- I finally got a haircut yesterday, so my hair is back to being healthy and split-end free. Yay! My hair has really had "A Series of Unfortunate Events" thing going on lately... last week, I had a dye job go horribly wrong and for a few days I had hair just like NCIS's Abby Scuito. Don't get me wrong, Pauly Perrette is cute, but my hair is supposed to be brown. Then yesterday my hair was so bad I had to watch three months of growing it out go down the drain during a "trim." :(

- Lately I've been rewatching "Sanctuary," partly because of upcoming Shore Leave, but mostly cuz I really enjoyed the show (before that fatal season four). And I'd really, really forgotten how much I liked season one, before Kate Freelander joined (not that I didn't like Kate, I'd just forgotten how much I loved the original team). And how handsome/charismatic Christopher Heyerdahl is. Lol. (And I just found out he's in an episode of Castle - EEE!)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Coming Together

I know, I know - it feels like all I've talked about lately is my trailer.

But, seriously, it feels like that's just the biggest thing going on in my life lately. Or, at least the most important thing. :) Every day, it keeps looking better and better and is starting to feel more and more like home. I can't wait to move in!!!

Liz joined me tonight and helped me knock out some of the last few things left to do in the rear bedroom/sleeping compartment. It was so nice to have the help! Plus, my siblings joined us later on to read, watch movies, or play the ukelele (lol) and so my little "apartment" was filled with people, which is exactly how I pictured it.

Everyone has been asking for pictures, but I still don't have any good ones, mostly because 1) I've been working in the evenings after work, when the light is horrible, and 2) the space is so small that it's hard to get a good angle on it. But, rest assured that it's looking good. :)

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get the top bunk-to-closet conversion at least started, if not finished, and then as soon as I get the AC running (apparently it requires a different electrical hookup than the rest of the system?) I can move in and "camp" until the sewer and water systems are hardwired.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

First Coat Of Paint

So, I bought paint yesterday. Two gallons (which cost more than $60! Yikes - paint is expensive! Good thing my whole entire "house" is only 27' long :)). And I went home, and stalled.

Because everyone told me not to do it.

My vision started with the first trailer I went to see - it was big, over 30' long, had a big sitting area and a huge bedroom, felt spacious, etc, and I fell in love. I'd been considering the idea of converting a trailer for awhile, but this was the first time I'd actually been inside of one, and in my mind I could see it with new carpet, the walls painted a pale shade of gray and the cabinets painted a slightly darker hue. My dad got hung up on the spots in the carpeting and I couldn't have cared less, because I could see it.

Although I didn't get that trailer, I carried the vision with me to each subsequent trailer I went to see, and when I found the one that eventually became mine, I had that same moment of seeing it.

And then I went home and shared my vision with others.


In a family that loves country, cowboys, westerns, handmade quilts, and wood, I love sleek lines, graphic prints, futuristic/industrial inspired furniture, monochrome, metal, glass, concrete. Most spaces that people label as cold and harsh, I would happily move into.

To refresh your memory - my trailer came with blue floral curtains and upholstery. With taupe wallpaper (that reminds me of my doctor's office). And lots of wood cabinetry. Everyone loved it.

Everyone but me.

And it was mine - or rather, it needed to be.

So I brought home a gazillion gray paint chips from Lowes, taped them to the walls and cabinets, and studied them. Every time I had a spare moment, I'd duck out and play with color, moving one closer to the window so I could see how the light played on it, or closer to the shadows, to make sure it wouldn't darken.

I matched up tons of light/dark combinations, looking for that elusive "perfect" combo from my visions, and the whole time, I doubted myself. I doubted that this was a good idea, that maybe I should just learn to be happy with the blue and taupe and wood. That everyone else was right.

I finally found the colors I loved, brought them home, and doubtfully plunged a paintbrush in and began painting broad streaks of gray across the wall.

And you know what? I loved it.

I got distracted by the way the evening light danced across the lovely hue. I relished every second as the ugly wallpaper disappeared beneath the fresh gray, creating a blank canvas for new memories.

I watched, in rapt wonder, as the space that, up til now, has been mine only legally, began to become mine in spirit.

The truth is, I'm not the same person I was three months, three years, or even ten years ago. God has been working in me, and in some ways, I'm like my trailer - for a long time, I was His in name only. But lately, I've been feeling brushstrokes across my soul, covering the ugly wallpaper, and heard Him whisper, "I'm redecorating. I have a vision." :)

And of course, the fact that I have a place to redecorate and call home, and the fact that my heart is made so happy merely by the perfect shade of gray - these are all testaments to the fact that I am the child of an infinitely loving Father, that I am being taken care of. For the first time in a really long time, I am resting.
And if you don't like my paint choice?
I don't wanna hear about it! :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Weekend In Pictures

It was a long full weekend - but good! :)
On Saturday, I finished The Book Thief.
Despite my bleary looks (I am sooo not a morning person!), I am blown away by this book. It's amazing. I highly, highly recommend it - you can get a copy for under $2 on Amazon.
On Saturday, Maggie and I went to Leonardtown Square to support an Autism Awareness Day fundraiser put on by her occupational therapist. After saying hi to everyone, we walked down the square and had lunch outdoors on the sidewalk of El Cerro Grande. The weather was perfect and we lingered for a long time, people-watching and drinking way too many glasses of iced tea.
After lunch, we walked across the square to get lattes at the little coffeeshop there, then walked to the used bookstore where I found a copy of Pippi Goes On Board. Abby loves the Pippi books and I knew this would be a great addition to her growing library!
My seedlings are growing like... I was gonna say weeds, but that feels wrong, somehow. :) I repotted everything again this week, moving my first round of spaghetti squash plants to their final (big) containers and giving everything else a larger space to grow. Cannot WAIT to be feasting on squash this fall! Oh, and cucumbers, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, and green peppers, too. :)
For Christmas this year I bought Maggie and I tickets to go see Les Miserables at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center. So on Sunday, we braved Baltimore traffic to make our way into the city.
Well... we both decided we hate Baltimore. The traffic is horrible, people are not friendly, and the city has none of the charm of D.C. However, the Hippodrome was nice! 

We walked around a little bit, trying to find a place to eat dinner (which ended up being Panera Bread, go figure), then got some espresso while we waited for the doors to open. 
We enjoyed some people-watching (we'd make up stories about the different people/couples walking past us on the sidewalk)
The musical itself was amazing - I was enthralled! If you get a chance to go see Les Miserables live, I totally suggest you go do it (although the recent movie version is not too shabby, either). It's just beyond words.
It took us two hours to make it home, and another before I stopped humming showtunes in my sleep, so it was a late, late night for me, especially for a "school night." Which explains why "breakfast" this morning consisted of a nice chilled can of blueberry Red Bull, and why after I dropped Abigail off at school, I went home to take a nap. :)
How was your weekend?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Loves Of Lately

- Forsythia blossoms (really, flowering trees of any kind, but forsythia is my fav)

- Anything with a nautical theme

- Tank tops and shorts

- Iced coffee with coconut syrup

- Reading The Chronicles of Narnia with Abigail snuggled in beside me (she dearly loves these books and responds differently to them than anything else I've read her)

- Trips to the thrift store to get more books to read this summer - because we only have one more left in our stack!

- A good French manicure (and a peaceful quiet salon!)

- Seedlings that looked like they're going to keel over for awhile, then rally and become healthy, thriving plants :)

- Choices. :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Working On "My Place"

I love saying that. My place. Even if it is only 27' long! :)

Between wedding prep and life and whatnot, I didn't actually have time to do any work on my trailer before leaving for Alabama. Except to sit inside and do some thinking/dreaming. And get the kitchen unpacked (since I couldn't stand tripping over the boxes in my bedroom for one more second).

In a way, this was good - instead of jumping in at the deep end and starting to change things, then having regrets, I've had time to sort through my options and think through what I want to do.

Feel free to zone out now - this is merely for my own benefit. :)

- Paint walls and cabinets (light/darker gray)
- Replace carpet in living room
- New curtains
- New slipcovers for all cushions
- Modify top bunk into storage/closet space
- Convert bed into sofa in living room
- Make cushion for converted sofa
- Remove left bench from kitchen
- Investigate removing futon from kitchen (not sure this is possible)
- Hang racks (for spices and K-cups) inside kitchen cabinet doors
- Cover or remove weird window fixtures
- Paint bathroom
- Install bottom piece on bathroom door
- Replace all hardware (door handles, drawer pulls, etc)
- Replace fixtures (light covers, towel racks, etc)

Not all of this will get done before I move in (obviously), but this is sort of my "road map" for the long-term. :)

Monday, April 8, 2013


So, I'm home again after being in Alabama for a week. My seedlings are now officially plants; my chickens laid two dozen (two dozen!!!) eggs and broke their waterer (add it to the weekend to-do list), and every inch of my body aches from sleeping in strange beds all week.

It was so worth it.
I am done. in.
I want to be alone, I want to crawl into bed and sleep for hours, I want to have a good cry.
 I want to take a long run where the effort of moving and the volume of my music makes thinking impossible.

It was such a full week. And over the next few weeks, I can tell I'll be doing a lot of processing, a lot of remembering, a lot of feeling sorry for myself (I have, after all, been booted out of the "best friend" role in my BFF's life - and rightly so!!!), a lot of feeling happy for her.

In the meantime, and in the nicest possible way, I just kind of want to be left alone.

My favorite moments from this week:

- "It's orange! I'M getting married!" Chrisy (another bridesmaid) and I took Khy out for a playdate one morning and bought him a little gun toy with a green ball. Later on, when we met up with Rebekah, he lost the ball in the grass and we all walked around looking for it. I ended up finding it right in front of Rebekah, and teased her about overlooking it; she defended herself by trying to explain that she thought it was orange, but instead made it sound like she was insisting the ball WAS orange. For the rest of the week, the phrase became our code-word for "Just give her whatever she wants, whether it seems reasonable or not." :)

- My BFF's face when she saw the cabin for the bachelorette party. It was perfect - stone floors, stone and log walls, beautiful stone fireplace, screened porch, windows that opened out onto the magificent view of the Tennessee valley.

- Sitting on the stone floor of said cabin, beside the warm fire, soaking in a quiet moment.

- The next morning, as I went to check out of the cabin, I drove up to the trailer office and parked in the parking spot closest to the trailer. Went inside, handed back the keys and signed us out, then walked outside to the car closest to the trailer, opened the door, sat down, and glanced in the passenger seat - where, instead of Maureen, a very concerned and surprised looking terrier-type dog stared back at me. I immediately jumped out, slammed the door, and realized that while I had been inside, someone had illegally parked next to my car. All I can say, is that I hadn't had my coffee yet...

- "I sympathate with you." Maggie very sincerely said this to Rebekah, and then immediately continued, "Wait, no, I sympathicate... I symbolize... ???" "You sympathize." "Yes!" :)

- Watching Crisy climb around the McD's playplace with Khy. In a denim pencil skirt. Can you say #blackmailmaterial? lol.

- "Sa'ah! Save me from the sharkies!" I got to hang out with Khy for a bit on Monday morning, and as I was making myself a cup of coffee in the kitchen, I heard him shriek this in the living room. I ran in to find him perched on the back of the couch and gave him a piggy-back ride back to the "safety" of the kitchen, where I was rewarded with his big grin and a "Thanks, Sa'ah... you saved me from the sharks, they were gonna get me!"

- "My girls are back!" Khy's ecstatic exclamation when we returned from the bachelorette party. It came with a hug.

- Doing two of the bridesmaids hair - and having it turn out nicely!

The two bridesmaids whose hair I styled are the ones with their backs to the camera :)

- The moment my BFF put on her veil. I got teary. :)

- At the rehearsal, Khy getting fed up and stomping back down the aisle because the flower girl wouldn't hold his hand :)

- The look on Joe's face when we saw her coming down the aisle. Priceless.

- The sound of joy in my BFF's voice as she made her marriage vows. I couldn't see her face, but I could hear the happiness. :)

- The song "Ho Hey," specifically this version, which we seemed to hear everywhere we went. It sort of became the week's theme song, and sure enough, as we all waited to make our walk down the aisle, we began softly singing it together, in harmony, out in the hall. :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Home, Tired, Happy.

And that's pretty much all I can say right now, with my brain fried from a long week of wedding prep, a beautiful day celebrating two of my favorite people, and an overnight twelve-hour road trip.

But a picture's worth a thousand words...

Getting ready for our walk down the aisle!
It'll be worth the wait. :)

Me with the junior bridesmaid (the sister of the bride) whose hair I did for the wedding

The two bridesmaids whose hair I styled
My beautiful, beautiful, beautiful best friend.

Bride, bridesmaids, and flower girl
The maid of honor and I

The beautiful, happy couple.